Tillerson seeks closer US-India ties to bolster stability

China bullet train

"The United States seeks constructive relations with China, but we will not shrink from China's challenges to the rules-based order and where China subverts the sovereignty of neighboring countries and disadvantages the USA and our friends", Tillerson told the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson says the Donald Trump administration expects Pakistan to take "decisive action against terrorist groups" based within its borders.

In a period of uncertainty in the world, "India needs a reliable partner on the world stage, and the United States is that partner", Tillerson said, adding, "It is time to double-down on the democratic partner", who he said, "is rising steadily and will rise for the next 100 years".

Tillerson made the remarks at a time he is attempting to lead a concerted diplomatic push to have Beijing apply greater pressure on North Korea, which defiantly continues its pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to target them at United States territory.

The speech comes a few days before Tillerson visits South Asia in a trip that will include a stop in New Delhi. And it coincides with China's nineteenth party congress - a massive gathering of Communist Party members to choose who will lead the country for the next five years. He added that, "no one should expect China to swallow anything that undermines its interests".

In an unprecedented criticism of Beijing and its methods while juxtaposing and contrasting it with New Delhi's outlook, Tillerson said China, while rising alongside India, "has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the global, rules-based order - even as countries like India operate within a framework that protects other nations' sovereignty". That includes increasing pressure on India's rival, Pakistan, to stop supporting terror groups that the USA argues continue to foment conflict.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laid out the Trump administration's vision for the USA role in South Asia ahead of his trip there next week, praising the "emerging Delhi-Washington strategic partnership" as a vital anchor for the region's stability. "They are the good neighbours and partner that we have in the region", she said. The secretary is in regular contact with Chinese leadership.

"We are eager to grow our relationship even as India grows as a world leader and power".

Tillerson also made clear the United States will come after some of China's development business in the Asia Pacific and beyond. Tillerson said the United States look forward to collaborating with India to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

He also accused China of economic activities and financing that saddles developing countries in the region with enormous debt. He addressed "predatory economics" (possibly implying China's economic relations in the region) that was a danger in the Indo-Pacific region, where emerging economies needed access to alternative ways to get resources. "In the last decade, our counterterrorism cooperation has expanded significantly", Rex Tillerson said while speaking on "Defining Our Relationship with India for Next Century".

Pakistan recently helped rescue an American woman, her Canadian husband, and their three children from the Taliban, acting on USA intelligence information.

"But we won't shrink from China's challenges to the rules-based order, or where China subverts the sovereignty of neighboring countries, and disadvantages the USA and our friends".

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